Weathering Factory - Various Germans 1941-1945 Russia/Ardennes (72001) _________(EXT)

 

Manufacturer Weathering Factory
Scale 1/72
Set Code 72-001
Year 2014
No. of Figures 6
No. of Poses 6
Additional Items None
Size Tall
Material White Metal
Colour Silver
Flash Level Low
Glue-ability Excellent (Super Glue Gel)
Convert-ability Difficult
Optimal Period 1941 - 1945

 

Review 

The arrival of new companies in the field of 1/72 figures is always received with great satisfaction, no matter it is about mass-production or cottage industry representatives, their products certainly enriching the scale with valuable miniatures. In 2013 Weathering Factory has been established, the German company starting business with several white metal sets targeting their own country army during WWII. Obviously, as the best sold subject in the 1/72 scale, hundreds of sets are issued on the matter and in order to find its place on a crowded market, such a manufacturer has to make its offers as tempting as possible. Weathering Factory has not disappointed from this perspective and proved excellent knowledge on the needs and desires of interested groups as well as top resources for creating remarkable miniatures. 

The producer has identified serious gaps in the field of WWII winter Germans and the first issued sets aim at covering several of those blank spaces. Following that incentive, excellent sculptured figs, with crisp details, dressed in attractive items of clothing and adopting eye-catching poses have started to find their way to collectors, static modellers, and gamers. For the first time Weathering Factory has chosen to enter the market with a six figure set named “Various Germans 1941-1945 Russia/Ardennes”, the soldiers being prepared for the cold season. The title is more than properly selected while all the featured army-men wear dissimilar attire, so a huge diversity is encountered. In spite doing almost nothing, the characters wonderfully interact between and thanks to them modellers can easily recreate one or more genuine scenes. 

Packed in a clear plastic box without a special artwork except the name of the set and other information on the period and location suitable for the toy-soldiers, it can be noticed the producer has taken all the necessary measures the product to arrive in safe conditions in customers’ hands. In this purpose, the content is wrapped in plastic bags as well as in a special protective polystyrene paper but the method has a downside if purchasing the set from a regular shop, the potential buyer cannot make any opinion about the set while nothing is seen inside or in the artwork. The parts requiring assembly are packed separately, in a distinct bag and even if neither instruction for assembly nor artwork are provided, the three arms that must be set in positions cannot be confounded, the hobbyist has just to pay little attention to the weapons and to link those with the equipment on the related figures. In addition, on the website of the producer (www.theweatheringfactory.de) there are available some excellent images with the unpainted and painted minis, so valuable information is at disposal.  

It definitely worth visiting the website of the company since there are posted good painted versions of the six characters incorporated, the background being ensured by a black and white photo of a StuG with tank riders. The combination between the coloured and black and white image is noteworthy, as well as the nice effect resting in the fact that the toy-soldiers are sized to match the real troopers appearing in the background photo. The point of originality is represented by the insertion of numbers for miniatures, below being supplied correspondent information regarding what each embodies, the period, and the appropriate location for display. A quite similar approach of describing figurines is offered by Zvezda for “German Infantry Platoon 1942-1944” but straight on the box. According to the data granted by Weathering Factory on the website, inside this set hobbyists find four Grenadiers, one officer and a Panzer commander. It can be observed that for most of them, the optimal period is 1941 to 1945 and the unit can be Waffen SS or Heer. However, not only those mentioned as SS/Herr, but also soldier no.6 listed as a LAH Grenadier and no.4 in wachmantel and without a specific unit can serve either in Waffen SS or Heer, the items of clothing they dress being worn by representatives of both units.  

“Various Germans” proposes five infantrymen and one Panzer soldier, all staying put, perhaps at a safe distance from the enemy. Although wearing dissimilar clothes, the figs can be gathered in the same place without fear, in this way highlighting the enormous diversity and deficit of equipment the WWII Germans confronted with from the time when the first winter came on the Eastern Front.  

Inherited from Kaiser’s army, particularly in the Early Part of WWII, the greatcoat was the main item of garment for winter dressed by the German soldier and remained in service till the end of war due to shortage of dedicated winter attire adapted to modern warfare. Different standard and tailor-made greatcoats appeared, the most ordinary being M36, M40, and M42. The M36 and M40 patterns are easily recognised after the French cuffs, in the 1/72 scale the main difference between resting in the colour of the collar the modeller chooses to paint. After the tragic experience of first winter spent on the Eastern Front, when soldiers endured terrible because of cold, the German High Command understood the need of new items of clothing, suitable both for combat and warming. So, starting with 1942 specialised winter attire such as parkas and fur anoraks began to replace the outdated greatcoat.  

The set accommodates two figures in greatcoats, one of them putting over it a M38 camouflage smock for camouflage or warming purposes. The smock pattern is spotted in 1/72 scale after the lack of flaps of the two waist pockets which the M42 pattern featured. In accordance with the info on manufacturer’s website, this figure embodies a Waffen SS trooper, in LAH division. Of course, it is about the famous 1 SS Division “Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler”, correctly abbreviated LSSAH and maybe the preferred “LAH” term was dictated by spacing reasons. In service with Waffen SS since 1939, later on the camouflage smock reached Heer units as well, evidently, in specific patterns of that unit. This interesting and intensively worn item of clothing was reversible, for Waffen SS one side featuring spring/summer and the other autumn/winter camo patterns and occasionally, one side was white. Although the intangible artwork shows the smock in a hard to identify Waffen SS pattern, modellers can opt to paint it in various Waffen SS or Wehrmacht camouflage schemes or even white. With steel helmet and armed with a Kar98K, he put over the smock the “Y” straps and as gear he has got ammo pouches for Kar98K, canteen, mess-tin, bread bag, and Zeltbahn. The stance adopted, propping the rifle shoulder stock in the ground or on a box, stone or other object, is excellent for a soldier waiting and looking in the distance. The approach considered by Weathering Factory was often encountered on the battle-field and in 1/72 scale Caesar and other few garage makers supply figures wearing various items of clothing over greatcoats.

On account of the clear French cuffs displayed, his team-mate in greatcoat wears a M40 model, has got steel helmet, and is armed with Gewehr43. Lightly equipped, with ammo pouches in front and shovel, bayonet and bread-bag on the back, he holds his rifle with both hands in a fine stance, completing those taken by his comrades.  

Another soldier with steel helmet is dressed in the standard winter suit and he received the well-known MG34 whose folded bipod dangles in a brilliant manner this time. Tested and approved in 1942, the winter suit consisted in a parka with detachable hood and matching trousers and became one of the standard winter outfits of the WWII German soldier. Most of those suits were reversible and at the beginning it had one side mouse gray. Since 1943 almost all Waffen SS autumn/winter or spring/summer camouflage patterns as well as Wehrmach patterns were available, the other side being always white. As specialised winter clothes, regulations enforced that parkas had to be returned to depots in spring but the provision was commonly infringed and parkas remained in service throughout the year. This gunner holds the weapon in a common manner on the right shoulder and a MG ammunition container of 250 rounds in the left. He correctly displays the MG tool pouch on the right hand side while on the left the pistol holster hangs, according to regulations, such specialised soldiers having allocated pistols as personal weapons. On the back, he adjusted the canteen, bread-bag, and gas mask container that miss the related strap, so this should be added or simply painted by hobbyist. The whole figure is an excellent depiction of a WWII German MG gunner and together with the colleagues in greatcoats can illustrate a complete MG team although they have no correspondent ammunition. His winter outfit grants huge options for painting, white, mouse gray and different Waffen SS and Wehrmacht camouflage patterns being appropriate for one of the best and intensively utilised winter garment since 1942.  

Designed for Blitzkrieg, the WWII German army entered in Russia completely unprepared for facing General Winter, troubles also emerging due to difficulties in logistics and Hitler’s controversial order of not sending winter apparel to the army on the Eastern Front in order not to decrease moral and stimulate them to fight and win the war before Christmas of 1941. Consequently, thousands of soldiers suffered in their thin uniforms and ferocious fights took place for occupying any available shelter, even the most insignificant izba meaning survival when outside there were -40 °C. Forced by the situation, WWII German army-men had no hesitation in using Russian or other Allies items of clothing, often not even bodering with removing the initial insignia. Hundreds of photos and filmed materials prove the intensive use of Allies winter clothes by Germans, obviously, with a higher rate on the Eastern Front.  

Such an aspect is not ignored by Weathering Factory which dressed the officer from “Various Germans” in a Russian commissar jacket and put on his head a German fur cap, headgear inspired by the Russian ushanka and the mountain cap (Bergmutze)/M43 cap but with fur improvements. He wears a pair of breeches, shoes long officer boots and except the belt and binoculars hanging on the chest, no equipment or weapon is visible. The legs appearing from the thick jacket attest quite a skinny officer, but the 1/72 proportions respect the anatomy and diversity of human bodies.

A more than interesting item of garment features the figure in wachmantel, similar troopers scarcely being met in Braille Scale. Surcoat was introduced for personnel such as drivers, sentinels, and guards, carrying out duties in extreme cold conditions, staying longer periods outside and being exposed to the risk of freezing. The surcoat was cut large enough to be worn over the standard greatcoat and was issued in various models. However, except those, tailor-made and captured surcoats have emerged, including animal skin ones and it seems Weathering Factory provides such a pattern, full length, fur lined, with a large lay down collar, and two frontal slashed lower breast pockets. This is definitely an ideal surcoat for a freezing winter, and identical items are often encountered in images and films taken particularly on the Eastern Front. The sculptor outstanding succeeds to capture the true appearance of the wachmantel, the figure wearing it being notably larger in order to highlight both its heavy thickness and that was worn over the standard greatcoat. Not only the mantel, but also the headgear and footwear hint a very cold day, this soldier having on the head a winter fur cap with the side ear lugs and back panel folded down. He put on a pair of straw winter over-boots which, due the shortage, were developed as a replacement for winter felt and leather boots and should have been worn over the marching/jack boots. As all winter attire, the fur cap and straw boots were issued to troops from 15th of September to 15th of April. The army-man portrayed by Weathering Factory adopts a pose in accordance with his garment and task, trying to maintain warm by keeping his hands deep in the pockets. As a true sentinel, he has on the back a Kar98K and no gear is visible, perhaps the few items taken in such duty, as ammo pouches and canteen, being hidden under the mantel.   

The Panzer soldier is crafted only for turret or other hatch utilisations, the figure missing his feet and the leg length can be shorten for better fitting in the place the modeller wishes to use the figure. Considering the season, he received a parka and matching trousers instead of the famous Panzer uniform, also often dressed in winter, particularly bearing in mind that was inspired by a ski outfit in fashion before the war. For further stressing the cold environment, the soldier put on a fur cap and over it there are the headphones. He wears just the belt but without pistol holster, maybe he left the weapon inside the vehicle, a quite common habit for Panzer troopers. Proposing an eye-catching stance, with the palms positioned as working at the switch of the throat microphone although the wires of the headphones miss, the figure excellent stands in the turret of a Panzer and he can sneak into other armoured vehicles, too. For his deployment, the miniature requires larger hatches, so it might be a little intricate to place him inside some resin turrets if not shortening the legs. While parkas were commonly worn by Panzer troopers, it is more than great having more such figs, especially with fur caps, a very rare approach to such units in 1/72 scale.  

Anatomy and overall sculpture of these miniatures are at superlative, the bodies coming well proportioned and heads propose fine facial details, eyes, ears, noses, cheeks, and chins being crisply carved. Though the palms respect the natural proportions and for this reason have a smaller appearance, these reveal all fingers in place and correctly grabbing objects. On account it is about winter figures, the palms could be larger for stressing the use of gloves, this aspect being somehow unclear except the left hand of the officer who visibly wears a heavy winter mitten while the other hand is in the pocket. For the rest of troopers, hobbyists can paint the palms either without gloves or with the knitted five fingers model. Attire records lots of small and accurately displayed details such as buttons, creases, fur etc. Of note are also the appropriate lace-up front plaquet and the larger cuffs of the camouflage smock as well as other niceties. Weapons and gear are greatly done and match in size similar items issued by top producers as Preiser and Warriors.  

Cast and mould are first-rate and due to the multipart assembly, no excess of material emerges. The miniatures come with just a small amount of flash that is easily removable with any modelling knife or improvised tool. Likewise, on the back of the miniatures and on the palm holding the MG there is one or two small residuals, showing from were the figs have been kept in the mould and those should be eliminated. As a white metal product, assembly involves cyanoacrylate, ideal being super glue gel. This time only three arms must be set in position, so nothing complicated and the parts fairly fit, without too evident gaps. For proper results in painting, the material should be primed first with products specially made in this purpose. Without primer, colours, no matter if it is about enamel, acrylics or artistic oils, cannot fix and the creative effort will be endangered by any touch. With primer treatment, painting can be done in safe conditions and if the minis are going to be heavily handled, a matt varnish for sealing would be recommended.  

Generally, metal figures are issued on bases but Weathering Factory decided this is not necessary. From some points of view, including the reviewer’s, this sets out as an admirable incentive while it exempts particular modellers from the effort of extracting the figs from their stands. Depending on the sturdiness of the material, occasionally such surgery is a real ordeal and it is simply wonderful having the possibility to encounter un-based white metal miniatures. Anyway, those wanting troopers on stands can easily glue them either on factory or scratch-built ones. By not setting these toy-soldiers on bases, the manufacturer highlights again the main target group the product addresses, in principle most gamers rather going for based figs. 

Enclosed in the medium/tall side of the 1/72 scale, these Weathering Factory figures perfectly match in size of bodies, weapons, and gear with lots of troopers in winter attire issued by many mass-production and cottage industry companies. Although some small differences might exist, they are suitable to stay next to figs from Caesar "German Infantry with Winter Gear", Revell "German Infantry", Pegasus Hobby "Germans in Berlin 1945", Dragon “LAH Panzergrenadiers + Sd.Kfz.251/7 Ausf.D, Ardennes 1944”, and Strelets “Germans in Stalingrad”, and Zvezda’s fantastic series on winter Germans. Nevertheless, the best relation can be established with the following comrades released by Weathering Factory and another white metal figure German producer, Juwella, as well as with Preiser, Warriors, TQD Castings, El Viejo Dragon, Miniaturas Alemany winter Germans and even Esci "Nebelwerfer 41". However, the list is not exhaustive and certainly there are much more sets on WWII Winter Germans with whom they can collaborate for creating extremely credible moments in 1/72 scale.   

Succeeding to reassemble the authentic image of the WWII German Army in winter, “Various Germans 1941-1945 Russia/Ardennes” undoubtedly stands out as a true manifest on the technical potential and great ideas of the manufacturer as well as that the company’s future offer deserve to be followed by customers interested to illustrate scenes from the most difficult season for WWII Germans. Furthermore, the value of the sets is augmented not only by its excellent sculpture and top accuracy but also by the notable matching in term of size with figs delivered by other producers.  

 

Historical Accuracy 10
Anatomy 9
Poses Quality 9
Details Quality 9
Mould Quality 9
Sculpture 9
Recommendation/Utility 10
Reviewer’s Opinion 9